I have just heard from someone in BellSouth's legal department
concerning the issue of their position on Linux and ADSL. (For
those of you who didn't catch the first story,
BellSouth will not even come out and install the ADSL line on your
copper if you are not running an "approved" operating system --
Windows 95, 98, NT, or MacOS 7.5+).
Their official position is that BellSouth's ISP services are not
regulated, and, as such, they have no responsibility to provide
internet access to anyone other than those they chose.
While this may or may not be true, they do not even address the
issue of the legality of refusing access to a common-carrier
service (the ADSL line itself). I have obtained a copy of
BellSouth's FCC tariffs on their ADSL service, and have found the
following interesting passages:
"For BellSouth ADSL service, the Customer must specify the
Customer commitment level, Customer electronic mail address,
confirmation of an end-user letter of authorization, end-user's
Telephone Exchange service provider, Network Service Provider and
in-service telephone number, type of request, BellSouth XAATMS
Port, and the circuit identification of the transport facility
between the Customer's premises and its Serving Wire Center." [note
no mention of OS]
"The responsibility of the Telephone Company shall be limited to
the furnishing and maintenance of BellSouth ADSL service between
the end-user premises Network Interface Device (NID) and the
customer's designated BellSouth XAATMS location, in a manner proper
for the furnishing of the service."
"The Telephone Company shall not be responsible for
installation, operation, or maintenance of any terminal equipment
or communications system provided by a customer or end-user. Where
such equipment or system is conencted to the Telephone Compnay
facilities the responsibility of the Telephone Company shall be
limited to furnishing BellSouth ADSL service in accordance with the
terms and conditions set forth in this tariff."
"The customer is responsible for installation and/or testing of
customer or end-user premises equipment or facilities to ensure
that when connected to BellSouth ADSL service such end-user
premises equipment or facilities operate properly."
These seem to me to be a pretty clear-cut statement of the fact
that BellSouth's responsibility doesn't even extend to the OS
running on the computer as far as the ADSL line is concerned.
Given this fact, and their continued unfortunate position on
this matter, I have determined to take the following action: I am
filing, this morning, an official complaint with the FCC, the FTC,
the South Carolina Attorney General, and my state and federal
legislators. I am also going to contact various people from the
press who spoke with me previously, as well as new, large-scale
I think we would be very much helped at this point by
wide-spread media exposure of this issue. However, I do not have
the time or energy to initiate all this on my own. To this end, I
am asking you to contact whatever media outlets are available in
your area which you think are appropriate, and alert them to the
situation. Feel free to provide my email address
(email@example.com) as a contact point. Please be literate and
thoughtful when contacting people -- it does us no good if you come
off sounding like a half-crazed fanatic.
I am hoping that by working together we can achieve justice in
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